Peterborough MP Shailesh Vara hits out at ‘shameful’ fellow Conservative who blocked bill to toughen female genital mutilation law

Christopher Chope during Friday's reading of the bill
Christopher Chope during Friday's reading of the bill
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MP Shailesh Vara has hit out at the “shameful behaviour” of a fellow Conservative MP who blocked a bill to toughen the law on female genital mutilation (FGM).

Sir Christopher Chope objected during the second reading of an amendment which would have altered the Children Act to allow the courts to issue protection orders if they are concerned a child may be at risk of FGM.

He had previously objected to the bill during its first reading in November and, as a result, campaigners contacted him to request that he not do the same again.

The MP for Christchurch in Dorset has said in the past that he objects to bills routinely because he believes they have not been scrutinised enough and that they should be properly debated.

Despite his arguments that legislation should be scrutinised, however, he did not object to other private member’s bills put forward the same day by his colleagues.

Parliamentary rules mean it only requires one MP to shout “object” to a private member’s bill which is listed for a second reading but not to be debated to block its progress.

Shailesh Vara

Shailesh Vara

Reacting to the news, Mr Vara, the MP for North West Cambridgeshire, which covers large parts of Peterborough, tweeted: “Shameful behaviour by Christopher Chope.”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid also criticised Chope’s stance, as did Health Secretary Matt Hancock who said he was “outraged” by the move.

Chope also sparked fury last year when he objected to another bill to make “upskirting” a criminal offence in England and Wales.

That became law last month.

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